Thursday, December 29, 2011

A productive day

After what seemed like an impossible run of good weather over our Christmas break, it poured with rain today.  Which was ok, it had been pretty hot so it was nice to break that up, and I had some sewing I wanted to tackle.  And it worked out well, I got most of the bodice done for simplicity 2403

And finished the piecing on this baby quilt, then basted and quilted it, so I've only got the binding to do.  One of my goals for the new year is use more of my fabric and pattern stash.  For my quilting fabric stash I think that is mostly about using fabric that I've been hoarding because I really like it.  So this baby quilt got this pink birds fabric for the backing that I really like, and I'm glad I did!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Sewing plan for the next quarter

I'm on holiday for the next week and a half, and am planning to do a bit of sewing. I decided to make a plan of what to sew in the next couple of months. I need a mix of summer clothes, and some work clothes, as my current work wardrobe is a bit casual for my new job.

I bought this simple top pattern from a new independent company I found on Etsy called Salme. I made a wearable muslin the other day and really like it so I'll be making at least one more.

I also have this pleated tee from Salme which I plan to make in a green silk

This Cynthia Rowley dress is cut out in Anna Maria Horner voile so hopefully that will be easy to finish off.

Next on my list is a project runway dress 2403, in a brown linen

I'm trying to work up the courage to make this vogue dress even thought the pattern pieces look very complicated

the other independent pattern company I recently discovered is Victory Patterns and I bought the Ava and Chloe, and plan to make the chloe in something suitable for work.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

ruffly skirt

I was perusing one of the slightly weirder fabric stores, and found this ruffly fabric on sale. it caught my eye and I grabbed a meter and a half and decided what I would do with it later.

At home searching on the Internet and I found that the ruffly fabric is big! I fond a bunch of ideas, mostly for skirts, and went with this one from v & co blog. I didn't use the same fullness at the waist and hip that she did, as I was concerned that it would make me look huuuuuge.

My ruffle fabric seemed to be a bit see through so I lined it with some spare slinky knit I had.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Bird encounter

Since I've started blogging I've been carrying my camera with me. Although my blog is really about sewing etc, I like the idea of carrying the camera in the hope that it would make me more aware of things I'm looking at. And today it paid off!

As I parked at the pub to meet a friend, I noticed a Tui on a flax bush right in front of my car. It used to be really rare to see Tuis anywhere but some pretty intense bush regeneration has made them a lot more common.

And this is as close as I've ever been, but it's the season when the flax flowers are in bloom and the Tui's are gorging on the pollen.

I'm sad that the photos are a bit dark, but I'm pretty happy to have got some good photos.

Friday, November 18, 2011

What frustration looks like...

So I was merrily sewing away and was thinking my new blouse was looking pretty sweet. It's the JJ blouse.

I was serving the sleeve seam, and was almost all the way round, when I caught a fold of fabric. Yip and there it is, I've knifed a hole in my sleeve. Gutted. Many swear words were said and I've decided to stop sewing and watch DVDs instead.


Friday, November 11, 2011

Faux milk glass

Our house is a 1940's deco-ish house, although there aren't many deco features which is sad. One of the features is a fairly grungy tiled fire place with a simple wood surround. A medium term project for me is to make the fireplace over, and I decided to start with some nice decoration for the mantel.

I'd seen a couple of cool images on pinterest formula glass, which was the sort of look I was after. But a couple of things thwarted that plan, in that I don't have much of a budget for my make over and milk glass can be pricey, and it's really difficult to find milk glass in NZ as its really an American product.

Image from Pinterest (I tried to work out how to embed it but I'm a bit hopeless like that)

But then after more Pinterest cruising I found this tutorial for making faux milk glass! Genius!

So a trip to the store at the landfill where I found 8 pieces of glassware for $5, a can of glossy white spray paint, a quick stop at the local sallies store where I found a couple of extra pieces for a dollar each, some latex gloves, and I was away laughing.

I still have a few pieces left to do, but here's the result so far, I love it!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Thrift store cuteness

Let me just preface this by saying I didn't take a before photo. Sadness. I still haven't gotten blogging or even really documenting my sewing into my brain and so it didn't even occur to me until I had finished. Blogging fail.

So this is my cute new skirt, that I made from a skirt that I found at a thrift store. It was $18 which if you live in the states or other places that seem to have great thrifting may seem expensive. Here is NZ, everything is expensive, even the thrifting.

Anyhoo, the skirt was from a company called Eastex. It was wool with a touch of polyester, which I actually like for reducing the itch factor. It was a straight skirt that came about mid calf on me, with a very nipped in waist. I don't really like the mid calf length (some women pull it off wonderfully, sadly I'm not one of them). The larger (or smaller depending on how you look at it was the nipped in waist, which is definitely not my shape, and sadly when it was done up it was making a good effort at arranging my internal organs.

So a remake (upcycle? Refashion? these terms all seem a bit clunky to me) was in order. I played round with just chopping the top off and moving the zip down to get a wide enough waist, but decided that it wasn't going to be flattering. So I used my a-line skirt block, unstitched the side seams and recut both panels. The zip and the lining were both still in good order so I used those also.

I had this grand idea that this skirt would match this cute vintage blazer that I have but sadly the colors are just a little bit wrong. Never mind! This photo of the skirt is much truer to colour

And I think it's really cute! Not too itchy, and a nice work skirt that will go with lots. A bit sad that I made it right at the end of winter, so it not get much use til next year, but I'm happy with it nonetheless.

Monday, October 17, 2011

My lovely new machine

Well, new old machine. I bought this machine off trademe, which is the nz equivalent of eBay. I'd looked for a while, and most of the machines were seized up, or the people selling them didn't know if they went or not. Or the slightly scary "it goes but you get little electric shocks from it". Hmmmm.

After a bit of research I decided I wanted an electric machine (vs hand crank or treadle), a model that took standard needles, and, as I don't have room for a table, a desk top model.

Most people online can't tell you the model number when they're selling, but judging from the pictures I had a fair idea this was from the 201 series. And when it arrived it was confirmed, it's a 201k!

And reading about this machine online afterwards, it's pretty amazing. This was a top of the line machine, and one site showed an example of a lady who spent the equivalent of 27 of her weeks wages on her machine!

One of the other things I wanted in a machine was a case, and I was particularly interested in these curved wood cases, and I got one!

A tune up with my slightly odd but lovely sewing machine repair man and it is going great guns! I Iove the heaviness of the machine, and it stitches a lovely straight stitch. It hates cheap thread and protested loudly and with much jamming when I tried to feed it to it!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Rusty baby quilt

This is a baby quilt I made for my cousins baby. I love this pattern from Craft Nectar, it's great for using scraps without making it look too scrappy. I think sometimes scrappy quilts can end up looking like a colour mangle, but this pattern has a lot of negative space, and I find it more pleasing to look at.

The rust coloured fabric is actually a cotton lawn from spotlight, which I picked for the colour, with the added side benefit of being half the price of the quilting fabric. Instead of using batting on the inside, I used flannelette, which makes a nice summer weight quilt.

I wanted to use this quilt to test out pebble quilting, but after some solid procrastination I ended up with only two days to baste, quilt, bind and wash it so I fell back on stipple quilting. Next time...

Saturday, October 8, 2011

What's with the bird?

Assuming that I've managed to not be technologically useless, you'll see a bird in my header. It's a fantail, like the blog name. State the obvious, why not. It's a NZ native bird, that hangs out in the leafy part of trees and flits about. It really does fan it's tail out like that when it flies. There's nothing particularly deep or poignant about why I have the fantail, I just really like it. I do like having a NZ native hanging out up there, identity and all that.

I had this idea that it would be fun to start an etsy shop and sell things I'd made. It's not really, and in the end I took it down, which was not really a huge loss for the online handmade community, there were only a couple items, and I decided it was more rewarding to just gift them. Baby quilts mostly, and people love getting a quilt when they get a quilt for their small baby, that I decided that was a better reward.

But what I am toying with is the idea of getting some labels printed with that logo, to add to items I've made.

On second thoughts let's assume I am technologically useless, and let's see if I can add the picture of my fantail here

Thursday, October 6, 2011

To challenge myself?

I have tried blogging before. And failed. Yes I know, there is no right way or wrong way to blog. But lets be fair, if you stop blogging I think that counts as a blogging fail. So why this new crack again? I completed some psychometric testing for a new job over the weekend, which included a personality assessment. Quite apart from what I think about the ability to assess personality with an online assessment, it did pose some questions for me. Quite apart from the 130 questions it did literally pose for me... I had a sense as I went through the questions that I came off very clinical, detached and uncreative. And part of this is that I was relating a lot of my answers to my current work experience, in a health/contracting/management role, which requires a level of rules governed behavior and evidence based thinking. And this was reinforced in a very supportive and positive way when the consultant from the recruitment company rang me to go through the result. It's a great trait for the job I've applied for, but it did hit me a little bit. I sew, I quilt, I embroider, I give a great home made gift. I have ideas. I want to design sewing patterns. I want to change my quilting to be more natural. And yet I don't describe myself as creative. And I think part of this is that I'm not contributing. I devour blogs, I love interest, I follow cool people on twitter. But I'm not putting my ideas and thinking out there. So I'm going to. It may not be the prettiest blog, I don't have a spiffy camera, and photos are likely to be taken with my point 'n shoot or my iPad. But I want to see if I can push myself to post once a week with at least one photo, and to try and talk about my creative process. Props to Bridget from bake at 350 who just posted this down to earth and sensible post about her thoughts on starting a blog. I don't decorate cookies and I just like her site, yay for blogging!